- The Washington Times - Friday, March 12, 2004

Each month, the Browser features some pop-culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free, interactive sounds and action.

Netting with emo:

One of America’s premier emo bands, Kansas City’s Get Up Kids, stops by the Recher Theatre in Towson, Md., tomorrow night in support of its latest effort, “Guilt Show,” as it depresses through introspective punk pop and raucous vocal tirades.

Never heard of the emo scene, music hipster? Me either, but from what I can gather, emo stands for “emotional hard-core” and denotes a suburban nerd styling developed out of the grunge scene in Seattle and punk scene in the District. To me, it sounds like a subdued brand of the Pixies and Green Day.



Going to the band’s Web site (www.thegetupkids.com) will give new fans a chance to hear, but not download, the band’s entire new album, thanks to a clever little pop-up window that acts as a video jukebox.

Visitors also will find the very stylish site to contain massive downloads (19.5 megabytes for the high-end Quicktime format or 5 megabytes in the Windows Media format) of the making of “Guilt Show,” selected MP3s from the band’s 10-year-old career and a video trilogy by keyboardist James Dewees.

Opening act Rocky Votolato also has been categorized as emo by some critics, but his latest album can be labeled acoustic angst. Those looking for examples of what I mean will find it on his Web site (www.rockyvotolato.com), which makes his third effort, “Suicide Medicine,” completely available for the listening but not downloading masses.

Cyber-‘70s

The latest tribute to the 1970s can be found in a film devoted to making a mockery of one of my favorite television police shows. “Starsky & Hutch,” starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, arrived in theaters last week, and I doubt it will maintain the resiliency seen in the ABC television hit, which ran from 1975 to 1979.

However, those enamored with the movie, or the cheap wood paneling, will love the official Web site (https://starsky andhutchmovie.warnerbros.com/) devoted to revealing the depth of the movie accompanied by plenty of tongue-in-cheek presentations.

After a graphic highlighting the red-and-white Ford Torino used by the pair of street-wise cops, the tire-screeching, police-siren sound effects, combined with guitar wah-wah peddling compositions, begin as visitors are introduced to the sections. These include: the Lowdown (story premise and notes accessed by using a cool gear shift to scroll text), the Players (background on five of the fine thespians taking part in the film), the Evidence (offering video clips in Real Time, Windows Media Player and Quicktime formats, along with photos that can be e-mailed to friends), the Drop (free cell-phone graphics, screen savers and wallpapers) and, my favorite, the Goods.

Within the Goods await six online activities to completely waste surfers’ time. I loved Who’s Your Wig Guy, which allows users to create a Bay City driver’s license by importing a JPG image of themselves to be fitted with a stylish coif, facial hair and shades. Also included are the Pimp Name Generator to find that special alias for a pal (with the disclaimer that Huggy Bear is not a pimp but rather an urban informant in fly threads) and a desktop wallpaper designer incorporating characters from the movie and backdrops.

I also enjoyed the Pinball Arcade Game. This tabletop game looks just like one you might find in the corner of a bar. The noisy challenge of controlling a silver orb through numerous gates, bumpers and ramps offers four players the ability to take turns with five balls each. It comes complete with LED displays to track the action, audio clips and bonuses for completing combos and uses keyboard commands to activate the flippers, set the ball in motion and nudge the table.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message ([email protected]).

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